By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 8/15/11
J.P. Banks looks back on his one season as head coach of the Hatboro-Horsham boys’ lacrosse team with only positive memories.
Banks led a young Hatters squad to a playoff victory, a second-place finish in the Suburban One Continental Conference and a 10-10 record last year despite a non-league schedule that was one of the toughest in Southeastern Pennsylvania among District 1 teams.
Banks’ contract was not renewed by the district; athletic director Lou James said district policy prohibits any public comment on personnel matters.
Banks had replaced the successful Dave Sowers, who led the Hatters to the state playoff in 2010. That team suffered heavy graduation, but Banks was pleased with the progress of his squad – which included mostly underclassmen among the regulars.
“It was a great year,” said Banks, the former assistant at Central Bucks West. “The kids came together throughout the season and we grew and learned.
“I think we were a very competitive team by the end of the year.”
Banks saw his youthful team begin to mature quickly after playing respectable games with Central League power Garnet Valley, eventual Texas state champion Coppell and nationally-ranked Manheim Township to open the season.
The Hatters also played Inter-Ac power Germantown Academy and District 1 playoff teams Springfield-Delco and Spring-Ford in non-league games.
“If you’re going to play teams in the playoffs what better barometer than to have seen (playoff teams) throughout the year?” Banks said. “When you step on the bus to go to the playoffs and you already know what level is required to play, you know what you need to do to win.”
The Hatters defeated Pioneer Athletic Conference runner-up Owen J. Roberts, 13-9, in the first round of the District 1 playoffs and then drew defending state champion Conestoga in the second round.
Hatboro-Horsham played some of its best lacrosse in the first period of that gamer and trailed just 2-1 after one period and 5-1 at halftime against a squad that went on to win its second straight state crown and finish among the top five in every national poll. The final was 15-3.
Banks also was pleased with the development of the many underclassmen that played key roles during the season. He believes many can play college lacrosse and that the Hatters should enjoy a strong future.
“They should be great in the coming years,” he said. “They are great kids and they deserve that (success).”
Banks said he will cherish the relationships that developed with the players.
“I think the kids learned a lot about playing the game,” he said, “and I believe we boosted their lacrosse IQ of the group from the beginning of the year to the end.’